From boy to man

Will McVay and Jimmy Grace with photographer Kate Baker at the mural. 188581_01

By Michael Doran

On the wall of Healesville’s main supermarket is a large black and white mural, titled ‘Seen and Heard – Boy to Man’. It is a photographic collection of 17 male students from Healesville High School, along with their feelings about the journey from boy to man.

The mural, sponsored by Yarra Ranges council, is the work of Warburton artist, Kate Baker. It will surprise many that she has been able to produce such stunning portraits using a very old, large format film camera.

Healesville High School Student Wellbeing Manager, Lisa Mathieson, said that initially there was some reluctance from the students to get involved in the project but all those who did are really happy with how it has turned out.

“We put out the message that we were looking for volunteers for the project but did not get a huge response,” she said. “So we then went into classes and talked about the project face-to-face and more students put their hand up.”

Kate Baker said she was also really pleased with the experience and how it turned out, from both the personal experience and the photography.

“The mural is all about being in transition and the thoughts of those on the road towards manhood. It is only there on a temporary basis but I hope Healesville people will see it and enjoy it while it is there,” she said.

Will McVay is one of the students on the mural and his overall response was “I’m glad I did it. It was good to have that experience but sometimes it is a bit of a shock to see your photo up on a wall like that.”

Another student involved is Jimmy Grace who said, “It was a fun experience and I’m cool with it. It was all pretty easy and the questions were okay.”

There was a scare when the mural mysteriously disappeared and while vandalism was an early suspect it’s demise was a natural disaster. After some heavy rain it appears the glue failed and the mural simply slid off the wall.

Kate Baker had a new set of panels produced and with a team of fellow Yarra Valley artists, and the help of Will and Jimmy, reinstalled them in their familiar surrounds.